01 Parable of the Sower by Octavia E Butler

01 Parable of the Sower by Octavia E Butler

Author:Octavia E Butler [Butler, Octavia E]
Format: epub
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00


16

❏ ❏ ❏

Earthseed

Cast on new ground

Must first perceive

That it knows nothing.

EARTHSEED: THE BOOKS OF THE LIVING

MONDAY, AUGUST 2, 2027

(cont. from notes expanded AUGUST 8)

HERE ARE SOME OF THE things I’ve learned today:

Walking hurts. I’ve never done enough walking to learn that before, but I know it now. It isn’t only the blisters and sore feet, although we’ve got those. After a while, everything hurts. I think my back and shoulders would like to desert to another body. Nothing eases the pain except rest. Even though we got a late start, we stopped twice today to rest. We went off the freeway, into the hills or bushes to sit down, drink water, eat dried fruit and nuts. Then we went on. The days are long this time of year.

Sucking on a plum or apricot pit all day makes you feel less thirsty. Zahra told us that.

“When I was a kid,” she said, “there were times when I would put a little rock in my mouth. Anything to feel better. It’s a cheat, though. If you don’t drink enough water, you’ll die no matter how you feel.”

All three of us walked along with seeds in our mouths after our first stop, and we felt better. We drank only during our stops in the hills. It’s safer that way.

Also, cold camps are safer than cheery campfires. Yet tonight we cleared some ground, dug into a hillside, and made a small fire in the hollow. There we cooked some of my acorn meal with nuts and fruit. It was wonderful. Soon we’ll run out of it and we’ll have to survive on beans, cornmeal, oats—expensive stuff from stores. Acorns are home-food, and home is gone.

Fires are illegal. You can see them flickering all over the hills, but they are illegal. Everything is so dry that there’s always a danger of campfires getting away from people and taking out a community or two. It does happen. But people who have no homes will build fires. Even people like us who know what fire can do will build them. They give comfort, hot food, and a false sense of security.

While we were eating, and even after we’d finished, people drifted over and tried to join us. Most were harmless and easily gotten rid of. Three claimed they just wanted to get warm. The sun was still up, red on the horizon, and it was far from cold.

Three women wanted to know whether two studs like Harry and me didn’t need more than one woman. The women who asked this may have been cold, considering how few clothes they had on. It’s going to be strange for me, pretending to be a man.

“Couldn’t I just roast this potato in your coals?” an old man asked, showing us a withered potato.

We gave him some fire and sent him away—and watched to see where he went, since a burning brand could be either a weapon or a major distraction if he had friends hiding. It’s crazy to live this way, suspecting helpless old people.



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